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The movie ET was the heartwarming story of a boy who befriended an extraterrestrial (ET) who was stranded on Earth. The boy worked hard to keep the government from finding ET as he sought to return to his home planet.
Of course, ET was a science fiction film, and there is no evidence whatsoever that extraterrestrial life even exists, much less that there are highly intelligent creatures capable of coming to earth. That, though, does not deter otherwise very intelligent people from spending billions of dollars and entire careers searching.
The SETI Institute is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit scientific research institute headquartered in Mountain View, California. According to its website, they are also “a key research contractor to NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).” It’s stated mission is to “explore, understand and explain the origin and nature of life in the universe and the evolution of intelligence.”
The name SETI stands for the "search for extraterrestrial intelligence.” The Institute consists of three primary centers:
- The Carl Sagan Center: which attempts to study life in the universe.
- The Center for Education: that focuses on astronomy, astrobiology and space science for students and educators.
- Center for Public Outreach: which produces Big Picture Science (the Institute's general science radio show and podcast), and SETI Talks, a weekly colloquium series.
SETI operates a number of telescopes and other instruments for astronomical observation, but is most well known for its giant radio telescope, The Allen Telescope Array (ATA) located at the Hat Creek Radio Observatory near San Francisco, California. With this array, SETI listens in on the sounds emitted from deep space in hopes of hearing signals that indicate the existence of extraterrestrial life.
Recently, scientists discovered a “fast radio burst” from deep space that is repeating every 16 days. As a result of this discovery, scientists at the SETI Institute announced that they were working on new techniques to spot “technosignatures” that might indicate the presence of some advanced extraterrestrial civilization. Their new techniques will supposedly allow them to conduct a “powerful, wide-area SETI survey that will be vastly more complete than any previous such search.”
So far, this effort has pretty much come up empty (as has every other effort they have made in their 36 year history). But, since the raw data from this effort has yet to be fully analyzed, they remain hopeful that an advanced civilization might somehow harness the energy of a black hole at the center of the Milky Way to signal its existence.
While astronomers are taking advantage of the massive funding being provided to do their astronomical research, there is, literally, no evidence that extraterrestrial life exists. The main reason most of these people believe it is possible is because they believe that given the vastness of the universe and the billions of years the universe has been in existence, if life could emerge on earth and evolve to its present form, why couldn’t it have also appeared in other places?
In truth, the entire thing is a religious quest. These people believe in a naturalistic worldview. Of course, based on those beliefs, all of the work they are doing is completely logical to them. But in spite of the logical possibility based on Naturalism, this search is, and always will be, a pipe dream. Naturalism simply is not true.
Freddy Davis is the president of MarketFaith Ministries. He is the author of numerous books and has a background as an international missionary, pastor, radio host, worldview trainer, and entrepreneur. Freddy is a graduate of Florida State University with a BS in Communication, and holds MDiv and DMin degrees from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is a popular speaker, particularly on the topic of worldview and its practical implications for the Christian life. He lives in Tallahassee, FL, with his wife Deborah.
You may also contact Freddy at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule him for speaking or leadership engagements.
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